I am a very patriotic person, sometimes to a fault. I wish everything and everyone I love was made or born in America, however that’s not the case. The good thing is, Canada is almost American. They are our good neighbors to the North and for the most part we all like the same stuff, it’s just cheaper down South. I’m sort of joking, but not really! Para Ordnance used to be a Canadian company, but they came to their senses and are now called Para- USA!
In all honesty, there is a lot to like about Canada; I like watching hockey, they are our ally, they have good MMA fighters, as well as great musicians and actors. I am a big consumer of maple syrup too. I have had many good friends over the years from Canada, including a Para Ordnance P14-45 1911 style semi-automatic pistol!
Para-Ordnance Manufacturing Inc. was originally a Canadian company founded in 1985 by Ted Szabo and Thanos Polyzos. Ted and Thanos were friends growing up in Canada. Ted escaped from Hungary and Thanos was born in Greece. The first gun they manufactured was a fully automatic “Dye Marking Tactical Machine Pistol”, designated the Model M85.
The Model 85 fired a “simunition-type” projectile from an open bolt. The pistol was modeled after Gordon B. Ingram’s straight blowback operated Mac 10 machine pistol. The cyclic rate of the M85 was 1200rpm and fed primed case .375 “paint ball” ammunition from a 24 round detachable box magazine at 400fps. This firearm was intended as a training tool for Military and Law Enforcement. In 1988, Para-Ord’s research and development of the .45 caliber high-capacity double stack magazine and receiver for the 1911 pistol platform really paid off. Their research and popularity of their magazines spawned many other innovative steps forward in 1911 designs and capabilities. Competition shooters benefited greatly from the additional magazine capacity for their beloved 1911s.
In 1990, Para came out with the P14-45 pistol, which was the first high capacity double-stack 1911 type handgun to hit the marketplace (14 +1 round capacity). The pistol weighs 40 ounces when it’s unloaded. The P14-45 has a 5 inch barrel and the length of the gun itself is 8.5 inches.
The company enjoyed much success with its pistols and formed Para-USA. In 2009, the company moved all operations to Pineville, North Carolina. At this point in time, Para-USA is owned by the Freedom Group, which includes Remington, Advanced Armament Corp, DPMS, Bushmaster, etc., which is itself part of the big conglomerate named Cerberus Capital Management.
It’s all too confusing to me. As of February 2015 Para-USA was integrated with Remington and made a move to Huntsville, Alabama to be under the same roof as many other Freedom Group subsidiaries.
Para-USA continues to build a nice selection of quality pistols. Although I would love to have a Warthog in my collection, my favorite Para pistol is still the P14-45. The P14 has a one piece ramp that is integral with the barrel, unlike the original 1911s that have a ramp on the frame and on the barrel (remember the 1-1/2 to 1 jump relationship).
The first time I fired the P14-45, it had a nasty jam I had never seen before. After pulling the slide off the frame and studying the slide for a bit, I realized the firing pin blocking plunger was bound up. After pulling all of the innards out of the slide, I found the firing pin blocking plunger spring had been replaced with a weak little spring.
The end of the spring was not closed and had worked its way beside the plunger and bound it up. The jam buggered up the safety lever too, but nothing a little bit of stoning didn’t cure. I replaced the spring and the pistol works flawlessly and is a pleasure to shoot.
As an aside, the Colt Series 80 looking firing pin blocker parts including plunger and levers, are exactly the same. Thus the lever filler plates from Brownells will make it a Series 70 for those of you desiring to do so.
I have shot several Para pistols over the years, both Canadian and the newer guns manufactured in the USA. They offer a lot for the shooter, whether you are a competition shooter or you need a good handgun for self-defense, Para-USA has many models to select from. To pick out which pistol suits your needs, visit their website at www.para-usa.com.